PPG Paints Arena – Pittsburgh Penguins
The House That Mario Built
In 2007 Pittsburgh was in danger of losing the Penguins. The team, in their search for a new arena to replace the aging and outdated Civic Arena, explored relocating the franchise. Talks took place with Kansas City and Las Vegas, among other cities. After much negotiation with the state of Pennsylvania and the city of Pittsburgh, a financing deal for a $290 million dollar facility was agreed upon. Renowned stadium architects Populous designed the facility, which was praised as being “very well designed” by National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman. Construction began in 2008, with the facility opening in 2010.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are one of the “Next Six,” the group of expansion teams that joined the NHL in 1967. The team has won the Stanley Cup five times, tied for the most among non-Original Six teams. Their back-to-back titles in 2016 and 2017 mark the last time a team has won consecutive titles.
Food & Beverage 5
PPG Paints Arena provides a varied and substantial concessions menu for hungry Penguins fans. All your arena basics can be found at the stands which line both concourses. Where PPG Paints Arena really shines is its assortment of premium and specialty items.
Local favorite Primanti Bros. sells their signature sandwiches, which include meat, cheese, tomato and cole slaw inside at section 119. Other local favorites include Meat and Potatoes, Burgatory and the Smokehouse.
First-time visitors to PPG Paints Arena may be surprised to find that you cannot purchase Coca-Cola or Pepsi products here. The featured soft drink is RC Cola, making this one of the few arenas in the nation sitting out the Cola Wars.
Fans looking for an adult beverage at PPG Paints Arena will undoubtedly be impressed by the dozens of brands available here, ranging from national brews to local craft selections. Favorites from local breweries North County Brewery and Church Brew Works are featured. Of course, no self-respecting Pittsburgh facility could operate without selling Iron City Beer.
You can find a complete guide to food and beverage offerings at PPG Paints Arena here.
The Penguins put on your standard professional sports show. There is lots of activity around to keep the casual fan interested, and with the team on the ice an annual contender for the Stanley Cup, plenty to keep the hard-core fan interested as well. And Pittsburgh does have their share of hard-core fans. Still, the atmosphere is not all that it can be. While Pittsburgh fans pack the house and the Penguins can boast of an impressive home-ice record, this is not considered to be one of the loudest or most intimidating venues in the league.
Despite PPG Paints Arena’s downtown location, there isn’t a whole lot in the immediate vicinity of the facility. Bounded by Interstate 579 and Duquesne University (the A.J. Palumbo Center and Arthur J. Rooney Field are located just blocks from the arena), the area around the arena lacks the bar and restaurant scene present in so many cities. Penguin fans pack Buford’s Kitchen on game days, but visiting fans will find little of interest when visiting.
Visitors to Pittsburgh will more likely head to the North Shore, where PNC Park, Heinz Field, the Rivers Casino and Andy Warhol Museum are located. Another option is the Strip District, home of many shops and restaurants. For the best nightlife in the Steel City, head to the South Side, where East Carson Street houses a number of great bars and restaurants.
Pittsburgh is averaging over 100 percent of capacity for the 2018-2019 season. Ordinarily, such an attendance figure would merit a perfect score, but Penguins fans have a reputation as front-runners. On two occasions the team has had to be bailed out by the league due to poor fan support.
While the team is atop the league standings and featuring superstars such as Sidney Crosby and Evgeny Malkin, the fans pack PPG Paints Arena. The Penguins rival the Steelers in terms of fan support, and the area is awash in black and gold on game nights.
Pittsburgh isn’t the easiest city in which to drive, with a compact downtown area and a great deal of traffic. Traffic jams and crowded streets are a common occurrence in the city. With most fans arriving to the area via automobile, be sure to give yourself a little extra time to arrive at the game. Driving directions to PPG Paints Arena can be found here.
There is a light rail system that serves the city, but it primarily serves the North Shore and southern suburbs. There is a stop at Steel Plaza Station, about a half mile away from the arena. Several city bus routes have stops serving downtown. The 61, 71 and 81 routes all have stops within a block of PPG Paints Arena. For a complete guide to public transportation options around PPG Paints Arena, check out the Port Authority of Allegheny County website.
The majority of fans will enter PPG Paints Arena via the Trib Total Media Gate, but there are three other entrances throughout the facility. A large lobby contains the team store, ticket offices and escalators to the main concourse.
The ice surface is visible from certain points on the concourse on both levels. Traversing the tight concourses can be difficult during intermissions. Restroom space is limited on the upper level, so plan your trips accordingly.
The arena’s website touts the facility’s wide seat. At up to 24 inches wide, PPG Paints Arena claims that it contains “the most comfortable seating arrangement in the NHL.” There are excellent sight lines from all seats. In an unusual set-up, the upper concourse is located at the top of the seating bowl, meaning those in Row A have to climb the stairs to get to and from their seats.
Return on Investment 4
The Penguins utilize variable pricing for their home games, with prices starting at $40 for upper level seats on the ends. With the high demand for Penguins tickets, there is an active secondary market. According to the Fan Cost Index, the Penguins rank in the middle of the pack in terms of expense to go to a game. According to Vivid Seats, the average resale ticket price for a Penguins game is $116.
Parking in the many lots and garages around PPG Paints Arena range in price from $20-$30. The lot across the street from the arena where The Igloo once stood charges $27. Be prepared to pay major league prices for food and beverages at PPG Paints Arena, but the prices here are in line with other facilities.
Outside of the Trib Total Media Gate on Central Street is “Le Magnifique,” a statue of Mario Lemieux scoring against the New York Islanders on December 20, 1988. The ten foot, 4,700 pound statue took over 15 months to create. The statue commemorates Lemieux’s 247th career goal. Lucky Islander defenders Rich Pilon and Jeff Norton are part of the piece.
An extra point is awarded for the Wall of Champions, a display of local high school hockey jerseys.
Hanging from the rafters of PPG Paints Arena are banners for the team’s five Stanley Cup banners (most by a non-Original Six team), retired numbers for Mario Lemieux and Michel Briere, as well as numerous division and conference titles.
PPG Arena is LEED Gold Certified by the US Green Building Council. Based on sustainable site developments, energy efficiency, water savings, materials selection and indoor environmental quality, it is the only Gold Certified arena in the NHL.
Every fan entering PPG Paints Arena receives a complimentary copy of Show Time Magazine, the arena’s program, filled with schedules, articles, stats and more.
The Penguins have a checkered past, with two serious relocation threats in their history. Those days appear to be well in the past now, as the Penguins are firmly entrenched in the Steel City, competing with the Steelers for the unofficial title of Most Popular Team in Pittsburgh. With a cast of superstars, the Penguins look to remain near the top of the NHL standings for the foreseeable future. In PPG Paints Arena, the Penguins have a worthy home for one of the more popular teams in the league.
Did you enjoy this content? Help support our work by becoming a supporter of Stadium Journey on Patreon. Supporter levels begin at just $2/month.
Food and Drink Recommendations
SpringHill Suites Pittsburgh North Shore
223 Federal Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
Cambria Hotels and Suites Pittsburgh – Downtown
1320 Centre Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Do you want to add your listing on StadiumJourney.com? Here’s how!
Latest Crowd Reviews
No writeup submitted.